Roasted potatoes and butter beans with summer savory

Potatoes, butter beans and savory

Potatoes, butter beans and savory

I have the whole day to myself for the first time since…well, I can’t really remember the last time. “Oh! Miss Woodhouse, the comfort of being sometimes alone!” I had such big plans! I was going to get so much work done. I was going to start a novel, and make some progress on pre-production on this movie I’ve been talking about for half a decade. I was going to be creative and productive!

Six hours in, and I’m having such a strangely hard time focussing. I could blame it on the heat, because it is hellish hot, but in truth I think it’s the silence. It’s the complete and bewildering lack of distraction. Why isn’t anybody asking me for a snack, and then ten seconds later insisting on a drink to go with it? How can I possibly be expected to get any writing done if I can’t yell at anyone to stop yelling so that I can get some writing done–if I don’t have the deadline of a trip to the river to motivate me?

I’m actually a big fan of aloneness. I think it’s important to be alone some of the time, so that you can pursue the thoughts in your own head wherever they might lead you, so that you can try to figure out all of those things it’s impossible to figure out. It’s one of my tedious mantras that a person should have such a supply of inner resources that they’re happy alone with no distractions for long periods of time.

But, as in all things, I believe we need to find a balance. We need other people, and we need to be needed by them. It’s important to have an outlet and a reason for your wandering thoughts, so that you have something solid to tether them to. It’s important to have a sense of community, be it local or international. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, the last couple of days. If we know our neighbors, and understand them and care for them, then we’ll trust them as well. We won’t sit in paranoid solitude till we drive ourselves crazy with hate and rage. And we’ll understand why the actions of a few people acting out of hate and rage will be greeted by an ever-growing community of humans caring for strangers as if they were friends, with generosity, compassion and understanding.

Each week I’ve been picking handfuls of fresh herbs from the farm–rosemary, thyme, sage and more sage, oregano, mint, lavender, and summer savory. I generally throw everything together into one big mix of flavors, because this random wildness is part of what’s beautiful about this time of year. But summer savory is a flavor I don’t encounter very often. It’s not as nice dried, and it’s lovely and distinctive–a little lemony and, well, savory! So I decided to use it all on its own in this recipe, roasted simply with tiny potatoes from the farm and big butter beans that were almost as large as the potatoes. I roasted everything in olive oil, and then drizzled some truffle oil on top. If you don’t have truffle oil, you can leave this step out–it will still be very flavorful!

Here’s People Make the World Go Around by The Stylistics

1 pound small potatoes, scrubbed, or larger potatoes scrubbed or peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 small handful summer savory, leaves only, chopped
olive oil to coat
salt and plenty of black pepper
truffle oil to drizzle (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425. Toss the potatoes and butter beans with enough olive oil to coat and spread in a single layer in a large roasting pan. Sprinkle half the savory over and mix it in.

Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes, until everything is golden and crispy. Shake the pan and scrape the bottom from time to time to make sure everything browns evenly.

When they’re as crispy as you like them, drizzle with truffle oil and season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the reserved savory over the top.


4 thoughts on “Roasted potatoes and butter beans with summer savory

  1. Ha, I had the opposite – instead of one of the usual peaceful days when I do what I damn well please, I picked Ellis up from preschool at noon and kept him, till it was time to go and get Ivan from big school; then we all went back to my house till five…what an explosion of activities, and different opinions, and talking we had! And tomorrow we’re going to do it all again, because their mum’s recovering from surgery and their dad’s doing some recording with his band!

    • I imagine it’s shocking when you’re not used to it…but fun!! I hope your daughter is recovering well!! It’s fun to talk to the little hellers, isn’t it?

  2. Well, Miss Fairfax, here’s what I’m thinking. A few hours off is like we you go away on vacation. Sometimes it takes a week to start to let go of thoughts of home and to really be there. You need much more than 24 hours to transition from a person who’s joy and job it is to have strong peripheral vision, to a person with laser focus . It is difficult to quiet one’s mind at home. But, you’ll find a way to do it.

    Maybe it’s easier for men. Most women tend to juggle many tasks; most men focus on one ball at a time. I watch how CT goes through his day getting things done, focussing on his paper,giving himself a coffee break. He creates structure for himself. The weeds don’t distract him. Nor do tree branches that just blew down. I am learning from him how to gently create boundaries for myself, so I can focus more.

    Now the little fur people need my attention. Time to turn the focus away from The Ordinary.

    • I’m sure I’ll never be a person with laser focus! But that’s okay. I’ll try to learn from CT, too, though, and focus on one thing at a time. Otherwise I seem to get everything half-done!

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